What is it?
2015 Audi A3 Sedan
What's special about it?
We'd put good money on compact luxury sedans like the 2015 Audi A3 becoming, quite ironically, the next big thing. Look no further than the Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class that went certifiably viral after its Willem Dafoe-starring Super Bowl commercial. It certainly seems like a lower price point could mean bigger volumes for luxury brands.
Audi would agree, declaring it the next "battleground" for luxury carmakers. Thankfully for Ingolstadt's finest, the brand is well armed for such a battle. Its A3 has long been making its case as a compact luxury car, but its hatchback body style made it as appealing to Americans as black socks with Birkenstocks. Here at the 2013 New York Auto Show, the new 2015 Audi A3 sedan essentially kills multiple birds with one stone. Not only does it make the A3 relevant in the United States, it immediately gives Mercedes a competitor for what already seems to be a sure-fire hit in the CLA.
Like the third-generation A3 hatchback on sale in Europe, the 2015 Audi A3 sedan is based on Volkswagen's new MQB platform that also underpins the next-generation Volkswagen Golf, also shown here in New York, as well as countless future VW Group products. The highlight of this platform, beyond bringing down manufacturing and development costs, is the weight savings it provides. For instance, the A3 is rife with aluminum body and suspension components.
The cabin is simple, elegant and doesn't skimp on high-quality materials just because the A3's price is anticipated to slot under the 30 grand mark. Its quintessentially German design is reminiscent of the oh-so-cool original TT, and it makes up for the fact that the exterior looks like every other Audi, albeit scaled down to fit in a Whole Foods compact parking space. Now, that scaling has resulted in a smallish backseat, but it's not that cramped (think original A4) and trunk space is still a very healthy 15 cubic feet.
The standard A3 engine will be a 1.8-liter 170-horsepower TFSI turbocharged four-cylinder, with a 2.0-liter TFSI gasoline (horsepower data to be announced) and 2.0-liter 150-hp TDI diesel turbo-4's inhabiting the options list. Audi's head of product marketing for the A3, Heiko Pabst von Ohain, anticipates the 2.0-liter TFSI being the volume leader because of the younger, aspirational buyers he anticipates being attracted to the 2015 Audi A3. In other words, people will want the bigger number.
Meanwhile, the 2015 S3 will feature a 300-hp 2.0-liter turbo fitted with standard Quattro. Audi's familiar all-wheel-drive system will also be available on the A3 with the 2.0-liter TFSI only. Every A3 and S3 gets a standards six-speed "S-Tronic" dual-clutch automated manual transmission. In other words enthusiasts, but there will be no traditional manual.
Now, those same enthusiasts are likely to actually lament the passing of the A3 hatchback, but they can perhaps find solace in its return in late 2014 months after the sedan arrives. However, the fact it will only be available as a new plug-in hybrid e-Tron model probably isn't exactly what they had in mind.
Edmunds says: First the Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class, now the 2015 Audi A3 Sedan. Compact luxury sedans could very well be the next big thing.